The Ketogenic diet is among the rising diet trends of 2018 which has definitely taken the public by a storm. Personally, I know a lot of people who swear by this diet and how it has helped them drop the excess weight off, even with only the slightest physical activities.
Keto: the basics and what you need to know
Keto is basically a high-fat, moderate-protein, carb-restricted diet. It is known to help people lose weight by shifting the body’s metabolism from burning glycogen as the energy [usual] source of the body into burning fat as fuel. In this way of eating, an individual is encouraged to have a macro split of 75 to 80% fat, 10 to 15 % protein, and 10% (sometimes even lower) carbs.
In simpler words, going on keto means that you should get rid of carb-dense foods, such as pasta, rice, bread, tubers, and other starchy staples and replace them with foods that are significantly high in fat – think about nuts, avocados, eggs, and bacon. The daily protein intake is also something to watch out for as it should not take up more than 20% of the total calories so the body can fully transition into ketosis – a state wherein the body produces ketones as an efficient way of burning stored fat.
Going low-carb: it’s a lifestyle that is not for everyone
For starters, keto is a difficult diet to follow. Going on with a rough limit of only 20g of carbs a day may seem impossible for most, especially if you are someone who is used to eating all the carbs on a daily basis. And if going severely low-carb is already hurtful to your ears, simply imagine how tough it is to sustain this diet – eating only fat-dense meat (yes, while meat is encouraged on the keto diet, the consumers must be wary of their protein content and opt for choices that are very liberal in fat), nuts, avocados, eggs, butter, and even oil (yes, some people take spoonfuls of oil just to meet keto’s high fat required daily intake), just seems a little bit to much.
And if “keto-friendly” foods are already hard enough to sustain and live with, imagine the side effects that come with this diet. Sure, keto promises weight loss, and on a personal level, I have experienced that myself. I went to follow this way of eating for eight weeks and looked significantly slimmer (all thanks to being carb-less, my body also tend to hold less water, hence giving the look of looking leaner), but there’s also another thing that I noticed: I was lethargic.
And while it is common to experience a decrease in strength on keto, the diet promises to revert this effect once your body has fully adapted. In my case, it simply was not it. I have found that while your body may be able to adapt to it if you are mainly training for strength (which I am), then keto is just not for you. Carbs exist for a reason, and they play a key role when it comes to both muscle strength and development – something that going high-fat simply could not replace. So, if you are someone who is on the boat for the same reasons, then just like me, keto probably isn’t for you.
The bottom line
The Ketogenic is a very restrictive diet that requires a lot of patience and dedication. There are no cheat days – you just can’t afford them. Sure, this diet brings promising results when it comes to weight loss, but for people who are not just solely after dropping off extra pounds e.g., strength athletes, bodybuilders, etc.), then there are other more sustainable diets out there that may best fit their goals, which will allow occasional cake slices and pizza. After all, life is too short to restrict and limit yourself to a short list of food choices.